Sunday, April 28, 2013

Distraction vs. Saying No

We've all been there.  We are desperate for cooperation in certain situations so we offer a toy, ipad, or candy to allow us to complete what we are doing....let's face it....sometimes it's basic survival!

But it's a parent's ultimate dilemna, whether to distract their defiant child who can't have what they want or if you should just say no.  Sometimes I feel so exhausted from distracting or thinking of other solutions to their problems and I ask myself "Why can't they just listen? Why do I have to offer other options all the time?"  But the truth is that while there are certain times when saying no is important, distracting or offering other options is often teaching children how to problem solve (and also avoids a power struggle).  Children don't have the coping skills that we do to figure out how to solve their problems....especially if they are tired or sick. 

Here's an example of what kind of situation often arises...

Scenerio #1
Child: Mommy, can I play in the water table with Grandma while you are gone?
Mommy: No
Child's thoughts: Why is Mommy being mean? What am I supposed to do if I can't play in the water table? Why am I being punished?
....and then the anger begins building up.

Scenerio #2
Child: Mommy, Can play in the water table with Grandma while you are gone?
Mommy: No, I'm sorry but that is too messy.  Why don't we fill up the sink and add some bubbles? You can pull a chair over and pour with the cups?

Do you see how Scenerio 2 teaches your child how to find another fun activity?  This is different, however, than other situations where a parent constantly distracts a child by offering candy (or other reward) when they are not allowed to do something.  While distraction can sometimes be a good thing, it's important to not use it as a constant crutch or else your child will not learn to problem solve in other situations when being told no.

This is Why Grandmas are the Best....

I went for a run and this is what happened while I was gone....

Why I am Freakin' Fabulous!

I bet you are you only reading this post to find out if I am truly the self centered, gloating, and egotistical person that my title portrays???
Well, the truth is I am trying to create a fabulous life for myself....and a fabulous me. I don't believe that God created people to be evil, I believe that he created us all to be fabulous....yes....EVERYONE. Many people make 'less than fabulous choices' but that doesn't mean they don't have the capability to be totally fabulous if they choose to be and owning the label isn't a bad thing unless you go around telling everyone how fabulous you really are and expecting compliments.
So, my intent for this post is not to let you all know how great I am ;) but to remind you all how fabulous YOU are and remind you that you should own it! Being confident and proud is different than being narcissistic and vein. Own your beauty and work your strengths really are fabulous!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dealing with Guilt

It's crazy, isn't it?  We have trouble letting go of our mistakes because we are afraid that if we forget we may make the same mistake again. But letting go (or forgiving ourselves) is different than forgetting or not learning from our mistakes.  What would it feel like if you accidentally hurt a friend and every day they reminded you of what you did?  You probably wouldn't want to even be friends with them why are we so mean to ourselves? 
If we are our own best friend than we can acknowledge our mistake, learn from them and become the person we want to be.  Many successful entrepreneurs say that they make a million mistakes before they find success in their venture.  The same philosophy goes for life...everyone makes mistakes but few learn from them.  The choice is ours....feel bad about our mistakes and constantly live in doubt of ourselves .....or evolve and learn from our mistakes. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

National Breakfast Week

I have always believed that providing a healthy breakfast for my family is very important.  Breakfast is the foundation for the rest of your day.  Many nutritionists recommend having protein, whole grains, and fruits for breakfast but how many people really do?  Let's face it-we're tired and  having a few extra minutes in our morning is very tempting.  Plus, healthy breakfast can get expensive and add to our already high grocery bill.  SO, how can we improve what we put in our bodies to start our day?
Planning ahead helps.  I often make eggs in the microwave and throw some toast and cheese together.  Another great option is peanut butter on waffles or I make extra french toast on the weekend and freeze it.
How do you make time for a healthy breakfast?

Here are some recipe ideas...

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I'm a single mom so I know one of the worst things is to run out of meds when you're kid is sick.  So, I found these cool dry erase stickies at Target to use on my medicine cabinet.  Now when I'm running to the store I can look at the list and see if I need anything!

Please Don't Thank Me

I hate writing thank you notes.
However, I can understand the social ettiquette and respect of saying thank you and I write them (and make my kids write them) but I decided to let my friends off the hook....
Here's how...

PS. You can do this for weddings, birthdays, retirement, or anything else!


Day of Silence

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tough Mother!! Ways to Incorporate Exercise Into Playtime With the Kids

I am doing the Tough Mudder in June.  It is a half marathon race with military inspired obstacles through the mud. I only have about 45 days to get ready and I am not sure how I am going to get ready for this!  I have been working out and doing some different things to train different muscles but I am no where near ready!  One thing I have been doing is incorporating some exercising into my time with kids (playing, running around, etc.)

1.  Walk or run with kids.  You can ALWAYS find a way to run or walk with them! Just get outside or find a large indoor place and start moving!

2.  Squat while your baby is in his or her bumbo or baby swing. Each time you get close to them make a funny face. To really add a challenge, squat facing them then jump facing back then jump and face forward. After only a few of these you will feel it and the baby will love it!

3.  Chest presses Lift the baby in the air and then bring them close to your chest doing chest presses. Count to 10 then repeat!

4.  Push ups Lay your baby on the floor facing you and do a push up over top of them. Each time you come down give them a kiss!

5.  Dance around the house with your baby in your arms. Bend your knees and raise to your toes whenever you feel inclined. You’re baby will love the range in levels and you will get a great lower body workout!

6.  Crawl with your baby. Once they start crawling they love it when you chase them on your hands and knees!

7.  Sit ups Sit your child on your lap and do sit ups. Depending on your child’s age you can adapt the sit up but you can find a way to make it work!

Finally, just start moving! Babies love movement so start throwing some punches in the air or doing jump rope…they will love it (at least for a few minutes!)

Remember, presentation is everything! If you present these activities in a fun way they will think it is fun! It also helps if you ask them, “Would you like to do an obstacle course or race me-YOU get to choose what we do! And you have all my attention!”

Obstacle course- I have made a bazillion obstacle courses in my day! On rainy days they are great for an inside activity and on sunny days they are great for an outdoor activity. Find things that you can go under, over or through. Once you come up with some ideas and add some obstacles such as chairs or jump ropes, then you can do it going the opposite way or do it while doing a crab walk. They can even do it going backward or hoping on one foot!
Races-You can race kids anywhere and kids love it! I don’t think I need to explain any more than that!! You can do races while hopping, skipping, rolling, crab walking…use your imagination! If you want to add a challenge, touch the ground at one point during the race!
Playing a sport – So you aren’t exactly the athletic type? So what? Anyone can learn to do kickball, basketball, or soccor. The best part is your kids may not know what the real rules are so you can make it up on your own! Remember to keep it simple and not expect a lot. If they want to make up a rule, let them make up a rule! Be flexible and let them have fun….heck maybe you will too!!! If you have a kid who is a little bit older ask them to TEACH you how to play (and make funny mistakes so they laugh and get to correct you!) Act like you know nothing so they have to teach you.

The trick to exercising with your kids is just to stop thinking about what you should be doing and start doing SOMETHING...anything!! Just start moving! Try to enjoy yourself when doing these activities! You will be surprised how easy it is (and how much faster your day will go!)

Monday, April 8, 2013

One Word that Can Make Your Day Smoother

One of the biggest reasons that children get frustrated is because of their inability to communicate and problem solve.  Communication and problem solving are skills that take children a long time to develop.  Therefore, one of the biggest ways that we can avoid tantrums is to simply ask children "Why?" when faced with a problem.
Yesterday I was taking the girls for a run with them in the double stroller.  They both wanted to take a stuffed animal along for the ride.  As I was running Sienna started yelling about a dog that was in a car (or at least I thought) and started screaming at the top of her lungs and stomping her feet against the bottom of the stroller.  Of course I immediately thought to myself "Seriously? Why are you crying about a dog that drove by?!" Then, a man yelled behind me and as I turned around I saw him holding Sienna's stuffed dog in the air asking if it belonged to us.  OHHH!  THAT'S what she was yelling about!!  So, we got the dog back and everything was right in the world!  But it made me wonder, what if I had taken an extra minute to ask her what she was trying to tell me?  Perhaps there would have been no yelling, screaming, and foot stomping.

But it makes me wonder how many times does this happens in my toddler's world?  How often do her meltdowns occur because she is not able to communicate her needs effectively? 

If we ask people in our lives "why?" when faced with a problem, than we can create better relationships and even increase our overall happiness.  How?  Most of our frustrations occur from misunderstanding another person's intentions.  For example, a waitress is not providing good service at a restaurant and you immediately become frustrated and assume they are a nasty person.  If we ask them why the food is taking so long we may find out that their coworker never showed up or that it's their first day on the job.
When people do something that we don't like it's rarely about us.  Finding out more information when faced with a problem can help us to be more understanding and feel less stress about why the problem is happening. 

When your child becomes frustrated and begins to whine or cry...get down on their level and ask them why they are frustrated and even take it a step further and help them communicate exactly what happened and why they are frustrated.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why My Toddler is Smarter than Me

This morning I got up and headed out the door to go to the gym.  I realized I was too late to hit the class I wanted to go to so I decided to just work out on my own at the gym.  I almost got to the gym and realized I forgot my ear buds (which is a necessity for me!). Instead of getting mad, I decided to think like my 1 year old daughter, Jacklyn who makes the best of most situations. 
I admit one is not my favorite age for children but there is so much I admire about toddlers. Toddlers can adapt to situations by jumping from one activity to another and being easily I decided to distract myself...get a coffee at the store and head back home to get my ear buds and start my day again.  Not a big deal.
Then I saw this video on smart is this toddler???
This toddler thought "outside the box" (pun intended) and found an easier way to solve her problem! 
She couldn't fit the peg into the hole so she came up with an easier way!  How many times do we do this in our lives?  How many times have you tried to get a person to see something the way you see it or get your child to do something just the way you want only to create a stressful situation for yourself?  I know I do this all the time!
But why can't we think the way toddlers think?  Why do we put up so much resistance and create our own stress.  Did you ever try to pick up a resisting toddler and have them completely relax their muscles and slip through your hands?  Yes, they have learned that if they relax their muscles they can get out of going where they don't want to go! How genius!  Maybe instead of trying to be so smart about everything we do we should just learn from our toddlers and relax or find an easier way to solve our problems.  Maybe life isn't always as complicated as it seems!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Can You Relate to a Single Mom?

It's occurred to me many times that the challenges I go through as a single parent are challenges that many other parents feel that are married.  For one reason or another, many parents feel alone when it comes to raising their children.  Maybe a spouse is working a lot, sick, or unavailable for whatever reason.  When I tell some of my friends that my kids are gone for the weekend they look at me with envious, almost angry eyes with a hint of jealousy.  Sometimes I think there are married single moms out there that are more alone than me.  Is this you? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Be a Rock Star Uncle

1.  Give piggy back rides
2.  Sit on them and flatten them into a pancake
4.  Make cool forts together
5.  Do a magic trick (c'mon you can google something easy!)
6.  Sneak candy before dinner
7.  Call them something funny like "Larry" or "Pickles"
8.  Do strange things like roll on the floor laughing hysterically when someone tells a silly joke
9. Give lots of hugs and a million tickles
10. Let them use your arms as a coloring book or activity center. (ok...this may require some tattoos!:) 

P.S My brother REALLY is a rock star..he is the bass player for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts..and he's super cool too!

Fun and Informative

This is the board we use on a regular basis to engage the kids in the accountability for the choices they make.  They enjoy earning stars! This also reminds me to give them positive reinforcement for their good choices (without material rewards such as candy or stickers, etc.)